Taking off the card’s cooler we found that it has a copper core to contact with the GPU and an aluminum base for the memory chips.
Soaked thermal pads ensure heat transfer from the memory chips and power elements. Gray and thick thermal grease serves as a thermal interface between the cooler and the GPU.
We can have a better view of the cooler with the plastic casing removed:
The heatsink consists of thin aluminum plates pierced by three copper heat pipes, 6mm in diameter:
The pipes go out of the base that betrays a rather mediocre finish:
The heatsink is cooled by a blower with slightly curved blades.
This 97x94x33mm blower comes from Delta Electronics’ BFB1012L series. According to the specs, the fan speed is automatically adjusted depending on the GPU load from 400 to 2700rpm producing a maximum airflow of 19.07CFM and a max noise of 45.0dBA. The hot air is exhausted out of the system case through the grid in the card’s mounting bracket.
The back part of the cooler above the power elements is shaped like a needle heatsink.
I tested the performance of this cooler by running the Firefly Forest test from 3DMark06 at 1920x1200 with 4x FSAA and 16x AF. The test was performed in a closed system case (ASUS Ascot 6AR2-B; you can find its fan configuration in the description of the testbed below). The room temperature was 21°C. The GPU temperature proved to be as follows during that test (the graphics card was working at its default clock rates):
The temperature of 77°C under peak load is quite comfortable for such a high-frequency chip. You may wonder where the data on the ambient temperature and the fan speed are. Well, the manufacturer seems to have saved on these sensors because the latest available version of RivaTuner (version 2.09, to be exact) could not find them and thus could provide the appropriate information. That’s a strange solution considering that such sensors are installed even on the cheaper GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB as you’ll see shortly.
The fan speed regulation can be seen in the graph. When the load has been removed and the GPU temperature has gone done, the fan speed lowers and the GPU temperature grows up again by 6°C. It is 62-63°C in 2D mode. By the way, the speed can be easily regulated by means of RivaTuner, so I could set the maximum speed and rerun the test:
As you can see, the GPU temperature is 9°C lower under load and equals 46-47°C in 2D mode.